Bark bark bark bark bark.
If she doesn’t shut the fuck up, I’m going to lose my mind. And that is an understatement. This morning, particularly, I felt on the verge of cracking up. Let me explain why more specifically.
I know, you’re thinking, she’s just a dog! How difficult can that be?
Butthead has had some issues with her housebreaking, as I have explained prior. So we moved to use a crate to help with the housebreaking. We have crated a dog before (SP) with success. And in fact, after getting used to the crate, SP loved it. She truly used it as a den and often escaped in there to sleep with the door open, day or night, no matter what house we lived in. She loved it. With Le Moo, we did not have any accidents in the house, so we never had to use a crate. Butthead gets a crate. If you’ve never crate or kennel trained, I know you’re thinking how awful it must be, but trust me, there are times when it is necessary, and dogs really do love their “den” if it is introduced properly and used properly. It is not for punishment, it is a “safe” place for them to be.
Anyway, I introduced the crate to Butthead properly, and she was going in and out of it easily. She now knows the command to go in her crate and is generally happy to do so because she gets something tasty in there. And at this very moment, she is ensconced safely in her happy place, snoozing away without a care in the world. The crate is on the first floor because we are still not allowing her upstairs at this point. The problem? Her happiness in said “den” does not extend to our sleeping hours.
The first night she went in, she literally threw herself against the side of the crate trying to get out. She cried and barked and made a terrible ruckus. We took her out to make sure she didn’t have to go to the bathroom, then put her back in the crate. She cried and barked a lot, but settled at some point. Each night following, she would eat the frozen stuffed treat we gave her, then start barking. It started at about an hour’s worth of barking, then she would settle down. Over the course of several days, the length of barking time decreased (we didn’t go check on her because that would teach her that barking made us come to her), to the point that Wednesday night she only barked for about 10 minutes before she settled down. I was so excited, I can’t even tell you, because she would also bark in the mornings after Hub left for work, so any chance at me getting some extra Z’s in the morning was zero.
So last night she goes into the crate with her frozen stuffed treat, and there’s no noise. No barking, no moving around, nothing. Victory! An hour goes by, still no peep from her. It’s awesome, we’re golden. I turn off the light and try to get to sleep. Fifteen minutes later…
Bark bark bark bark bark.
Sonofabitch. But I figure, okay, she’s going to bark for a few minutes, but hopefully it’ll be quick.
Bark bark bark bark bark screeching bark, bark bark bark.
Hub rolls over and I hear him grumbling. Over an hour goes by with the constant barking. I’m not sleeping, Hub isn’t sleeping. Le Moo chimes in with a little barking here and there, then goes quiet. I suspect she can’t sleep either. Finally, Butthead stops. She was probably exhausted. I drift off for what feels like ten minutes (but was probably closer to an hour or ninety minutes)…
Bark bark bark bark baaaaaaaaaaark barkity barkity screechity bark.
Hub mumbles “maybe she really has to go?” This is the first time she’s actually barked in the middle of the night, and we did give her deworming medicine after dinner. So we figure just to be safe, he’ll go take her out. He waits for her to stop barking for a few minutes (so she doesn’t associate his arrival with her barking), then he goes to take her out. She only pees, then he puts her back in the crate. Hub is barely back in bed when she starts barking again. I am near tears, Hub is livid, we’re both exhausted. He tells me he can’t take another second, so he leaves bed and throws on shorts and a tee shirt and he disappears. That is the last I see of him until 6:15 am when he comes up to turn off his alarm before it goes off. He put Butthead on a leash and he slept on the couch in the family room with her laying on the floor next to him. If she had moved (like to go pee on the carpet) she would have woken him. He does his morning routine with them, gets himself together, and heads off to work.
Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark barkbarkbarkbarkbark.
Holy fucking hell in a handbasket. I can feel the anxiety buzzing through me at an alarming rate. My stomach is upset, my back hurts, my arms and shoulders hurt. I’m laying in bed but there’s no comfortable position. I’m so damn tired I can’t even see straight. Butthead barks for over an hour this morning. She finally gives up around 8:45am, but I am completely and utterly awake. Exhausted, but awake.
I make her wait to leave the crate until I am ready to let her out. She already peed and pooped at 6:15 so there is no rush. When I let her out, we go outside right away. She pees and wanders like normal and we go inside. The morning goes normally, but after I eat lunch, I put her back in the now sheet-covered crate (so it feels more den-like) with a treat, then I set up the doggy lullaby CD playing. I come upstairs to my office. Like I said earlier in the post, she’s fine. She hasn’t made a peep, no barking, no moving around. She’s snug and happy. WTF.
What is it that sets her off? Is it HUB leaving her? Is it the space we put the crate in? Is it too open and she doesn’t feel protected? (this is why I put the sheet over it today) I mean, it can’t be separation anxiety because I’m up here (with Le Moo) and she’d down there, exactly the same as at night and in the mornings, except for Hub. I don’t know, I just know I’m losing my fucking mind.
I’m sorry for the cursing. I don’t do it a lot, but that’s where my frame of mind is today. The weekend is here and at least Hub will be around during the day to help me with the dogs, but I still feel overwhelmed and under-slept. Which isn’t even a word, I know. We have a trainer coming to work with us for Butthead, hopefully starting next week, but even that is going to be a process. And it’s going to take time. And more patience.
But good grief, if we can just get past the freaking barking all night and all morning. Please, I need some sleep, desperately.